Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care – Most Recent



To examine owner experiences with and perceptions of owner-witnessed resuscitation (OWR) in veterinary medicine and to determine if previous experience with family-witnessed resuscitation (FWR) influenced perceptions.


Multicenter survey.


Two academic and 2 private practice referral hospitals in the United States.


Four hundred and seven clients presenting their small animal or exotic pet to the emergency service, or owners of patients hospitalized in the small animal ICU, April 1 to May 15, 2019.



Measurements and Main Results

Anonymous, online survey. Demographic variables, familiarity with CPR, previous experience with FWR or OWR, and open-ended questions and 4-point Likert items assessing level of agreement with statements on OWR were included. Scores equal or greater than 2 represented positive agreement. An overall OWR mean score was calculated from Likert items. Seventy-nine (19.4%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 15.7%–23.7%) participants reported having been involved with FWR, and 13 (3.2%; 95% CI, 1.8%–5.5%) reported having witnessed CPR on their pet. Owners were significantly more likely to participate in OWR if they had been present for FWR (P = 0.0004). Ninety-two percent of respondents who had been present for OWR would elect to be present again (95% CI, 62.1%–99.6%). Whether present for OWR or not, owners believed there may be benefits from witnessing CPR and had overall positive feelings toward the practice (OWR mean score, 2.87, SD 0.45 and 2.68, SD 0.54, respectively). Most respondents (78.6%; 95% CI, 74.2%–82.4%) felt that owners should be offered the opportunity to witness CPR on their pets.


Owners expressed overall positive experiences with and attitudes toward OWR and believe the option for presence should be provided. As pet owners become more aware of FWR in human medicine, veterinarians may need to be prepared to entertain the possibility of OWR and owners’ wishes to remain with their pet during CPR.

Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care, Volume 32, Issue 3, Page 322-333, May/June 2022.Wiley: Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care: Table of Contents

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